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The US Presidential Succession - What If Trump Actually Went?

Story added 19th Jul 2017

 

What happens if a crime or even treason has been committed and those actions could reasonably be seen to have affected the result of the presidential election in November 2016?

There increasingly is a case to be made that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign may have conspired, or attempted to conspire, with the Russian government or its agents to affect the result of 2016 election. It’s still quite a stretch to prove at this point, but increasingly not beyond the realms of possibility. If senior members of the administration, including Trump family members, are found to have conspired with an “enemy” power to change the course of the Presidential election, then we are in completely uncharted territory.

The Constitution’s Article II Section 4 provides that “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours.” Treason is debatable but it would be hard to dispute that this isn’t a “High Crime.”

The impeachment process is an unusual one. The House of Representatives gets to impeach the President, which is essentially to indict him for the alleged offence, and then the Senate turns into a court to try the offence with the Supreme Court Chief Justice presiding. The Senate has to convict by a two-thirds majority. There have been three occasions that this extreme measure has been reached for. Twice, in the cases of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, they were impeached, but in both cases the Senate failed to convict. Richard Nixon resigned before the process could fully swing into action, having seen the writing on the wall...

Do you have an interest in politics and current affairs? Mark is teaching a class on The US Presidents who made the post-war world this November at Build. Alternatively, why not browse the rest of our upcoming history and politics courses.

 

Mark Malcomson is the Principal and CEO at Build. Read his previous pieces on the US elections at the  

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